With the NFL draft kicking off Thursday Night I will be posting a series previews of the top prospects from Florida State
Quarterback Jameis Winston may have won all the awards and gotten all the media attention, but the heart and soul of Florida State’s national championship football team was cornerback Lamarcus Joyner. Undersized at only 5 feet 8 inches and 184 pounds Joyner was a fierce competitor on the field and the unquestioned leader of the Seminole defense.
Joyner finished the season second on the team with 69 tackles (seven for loss). He also led the team with 5.5 sacks. A consensus all-American, Joyner played in the nickel role for FSU during his senior season after spending his sophomore and junior seasons at safety. He was also named a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back.
The biggest knock against Joyner as he prepares for the NFL is his size. He has good length, but his height makes him a tweener at the pro level. He has the ability to play safety and corner, but he does not have the ideal body type for either position. He also lacks the elite speed to fully make up for his lack of size. Joyner’s biggest strength is his pure physicality and effort.
A key example of this came during FSU’s game versus Idaho. Late in the first quarter Joyner lined up outside in the nickel position and blitzed the quarterback off the edge. Idaho’s Taylor Davis avoided the sack and completed a screen pass to receiver Dezmon Epps. Joyner overcame multiple blockers and chased Epps down to make the tackle 68 yards down the field.
He is also known for his hard hits and he never takes a play off whether it is practice or a game. He became infamous at FSU after giving teammate Willie Haulstead a career ending concussion and allegedly was the one to initially injure running back James Wilder Jr.’s shoulder, an injury that would hamper Wilder throughout his career at FSU.
Joyner also had a tendency to step up on the biggest stages. He dominated the Clemson Tigers recording eight tackles and a sack, forced two fumbles and intercepted a pass as the Seminoles won 51-14.
Joyner is expected to be drafted in the middle rounds of the draft mainly due to his lack of size. A few inches taller and he may be one of the top corners in the class. I would not bet against Joyner though. Whichever team drafts him will get a proven lead that has shown that he can excel on the biggest stage. He can play multiple positions in the defense backfield and has a nose for the ball which allows him to consistently make big plays.
A good comparison to Joyner is second year player Tyrann Mathieu. They are both undersized players that possess good, but not great speed. They play with a similar ferocity that enables them to overcome their physical limitation on the field.
By: Brandon O’Connor